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Presiding officers now able to cut disruptive MPs off from virtual sittings

All political parties have welcomed the new rules, saying that members will have to learn to adapt to this new way of doing things as they go along.

FILE: The National Assembly during the 2019 State of the Nation Address on 7 February 2019. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Political parties in Parliament have come out in support of new guidelines and rules to govern virtual sittings during lockdown.

Parliament has so far held over 100 virtual portfolio committee meetings, but no National Assembly sitting, which has 400 members.

MPs on Tuesday discussed the guidelines during a rules committee meeting.

All political parties have welcomed the new rules, saying that members will have to learn to adapt to this new way of doing things as they go along.

The guidelines will address, among others, the issue of disruptions, giving presiding officers the power to cut MPs off from a virtual sitting.

The rules also make provision for voting on resolutions.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina: "When we entered this phase, we were not sure what type of animal we were dealing with but as time goes on, we are going to perfect the system."

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone has welcomed the new guidelines, saying that party whips will be key in maintaining order.

"I also think that this will be a very good opportunity for the whips to stand up and be counted, so to speak. It is our jobs to be the representation of our parties, be it on the virtual platform or in the House."

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